The Prime Minister spoke out in response to a Sunday newspaper article quoting Tory sources as saying the Labour deputy leader tries to put him “off his stride” during parliamentary clashes.
Left-wing MP Ms Rayner hit out at the anonymous briefings as a bid to spread “desperate, perverted smears”.
Mr Johnson said on Twitter: “As much as I disagree with Angela Rayner on almost every political issue, I respect her as a parliamentarian and deplore the misogyny directed at her anonymously today.”
Miss Rayner thanked him for his intervention following the report that Tory insiders had claimed Miss Rayner enjoyed attempting to put Mr Johnson off during Prime Minister’s Questions.
One Tory MP is said to have told the newspaper: “She knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which
“She has admitted as much when enjoying drinks with us on the (Commons) terrace.” Miss Rayner often sits next to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and opposite the Prime Minister during the weekly clashes.
She has also stood in for Sir Keir at PMQs when he has self-isolated due to Covid.
In a series of tweets yesterday, the Ashton-under-Lyne MP said: “Boris Johnson’s cheerleaders have resorted to spreading desperate, perverted smears in their doomed attempts to save his skin.
“They know exactly what they are doing.”
She said Mr Johnson’s backers “clearly have a big problem with women in public life” and that they “should be ashamed of themselves”.
She added: “I won’t be letting their vile lies deter me. Their attempts to harass and intimidate me will fail.”
Sir Keir said the sexism displayed by those briefing the paper was a “disgraceful new low from a party mired in scandal and chaos”.
Tulip Siddiq, the shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “To talk about the fact she is using her legs or her posture to manipulate the Prime Minister is ridiculous.”
Leading Tories also condemned the remarks. Health Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: “If an MP or MPs really said this then it’s utterly shameful. No woman in politics should have to put up with this.”
And Andrea Leadsom tweeted: “Totally unacceptable comments.”
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